The Sound of Silence (well, birds)

Authors, Birds, Books, Creative writing, Music, Nature, Sounds, Voice

What music or sounds do you write to? Twilight’s Stephenie Meyer credits Muse as a huge inspiration to her whilst she was writing her four-book saga, and Fiona Apple, The Clash, Sia and Queens of the Stone Age all feature on this list.

I personally prefer the sound of silence, with added chirp. I live in a village in Staffordshire, so bird song is my usual, natural soundtrack. I sometimes even get a tawny owl at night which is a rather lovely sound. I have to absorb myself in my story, the structure, the voices of my characters so to me, anything else is a distraction. And when it comes back to editing my work, it REALLY has to be quiet. As much as I’d love to catch up on my favourite artistes and new albums, I’d probably just block it out anyway. And I have a three year old…I write when she has gone to bed so I always have one ear out for her too.

Once again, it’s all about whatever works best for you. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. You may find you write best listening to Iron Maiden. Jazz. Classical. If you’re in a particular genre, plot or theme, your soundtrack may be your research; I’m sure Taylor Jenkins Reid’s recent triumph of Daisy Jones & The Six meant she was listening to some awesome Fleetwood Mac. Crank it up to eleven, or dial it down to a wood pigeon like me.


Where do your story ideas come from?

Creative writing, Family, Ideas, MA, Open University, Parents, Syd Field, Three Act Structure

Where do your story ideas come from?

The more I write, the more ideas come to me. I find them everywhere, from news I hear, from magazine articles, from conversations I earwig on, through to just those things that strike me at 3am in the morning.

Inspiration is all around us, we just have to take note and listen to ourselves.

I lost my writing mojo for a long time, probably around eight years. This is also the time I met my future husband and our first child came into our lives. I always felt ‘guilty’ for leaving the writing behind. But it never left me. It was always there and I picked it back up when I was on maternity leave, enrolling in the MA Creative Writing course with the Open University. I’m now back into the thick of it and finding ideas are coming at me thick and fast.

I usually get a spark. I have a physical ideas book that I usually scribble one or two lines into. Some examples of recent entries:

  • Naturism
  • Chef – you’re on the menu
  • Room service – ghost? killer? maid? They have seen things
  • Lifetime supply of something.
  • Run – how do you know when to run?
  • Pregnant overnight
  • The clinic – flu vac clinic but it’s actually killing people
  • Telephone calls from the dead

Revisiting these ideas, where did they come from? Naturism, I have no recollection. A chef who serves people up on the menu is an idea I’ve had for years. Room service ghost etc… – perhaps American Horror Story. Lifetime supply of something – magazine article. Running – I had an idea about when to run away from something, but again I don’t know what sparked it. Pregnant overnight – this is the subject of my second tutor marked assignment. The clinic – a visit to the flu vac clinic. Telephone calls from the dead – my friend is a parapsychologist who is a researcher on this subject.

So, it’s all around us. Write down your ideas. Look back at them. I work in Syd Field’s three act structure so I always look for three ‘Acts’, or beginning, middle and conclusion. Can my idea be developed into something like this? The potential is usually there. It’s up to me to shape it.